Police Seize Rental Truck With TNT Traces
Monday, May 13, 2002
By Carl Cameron
A Budget truck was pulled over in Oak Harbor, Wash., last Tuesday near the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station and found to have traces of TNT on the gearshift and traces of RDX plastic explosive on the steering wheel, Fox News has learned.
Traces of explosives were also found on one of the truck's two occupants.
The FBI, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and local police are all investigating.
Government officials said the roadside stop was so close to the naval air station that military personnel took part in the initial arrest and naval intelligence has also been involved in the subsequent investigation.
Shortly after midnight on May 7, federal officials say local police pulled the vehicle over for speeding. Documents read to Fox News indicate that the driver and passenger told local police they were delivering furniture from California but that authorities doubted the story because of the early morning hour.
A bomb-sniffing dog first detected explosives on one of the men and inside the truck. High-tech equipment was used later to confirm the presence of TNT and RDX plastic explosive.
Documents read to Fox News indicate that both driver and passenger were Israeli nationals. Investigators say a roadside check of the national database of immigration records indicated that one of the men had not entered the country legally, and the other was in violation of his visa. Both men were taken into custody for immigration violations.
At 7:30 that morning local police were notified that the BATF and FBI had tested the truck and found traces of explosives on the steering wheel and gear shift.
Officials say no other charges of been filed against the driver and passenger and an investigation is ongoing.
Authorities say records for the Budget truck do not indicate any recent rental for the purposes of transporting explosives, which would require special permits.